John Murtaugh Has Arrived in San Miguel

By Mark O’Neill

Forty-four days after leaving Toronto, 70-year-old cyclist John Murtaugh arrived in San Miguel de Allende just after noon on October 29.

Murtaugh and supporters were greeted by Centro Para Adolescentes de San Miguel de Allende (CASA) students as he arrived. He made the daunting trek as a fundraiser for Amistad Canada, which supports various CASA social and educational projects in and around San Miguel. At the time of his arrival, Amistad had received more than US$24,000 toward Bi-CICLO’s goal of US$25,000.

CASA students waving Canadian flags welcomed Murtaugh as he and a group of local cyclists pedaled up the final hill. After the children sang a few songs, representatives of the local government, CASA, Amistad, and Canada’s former Ambassador to Mexico, David Winfield, extended official greetings. After the official welcome, Murtaugh posed with members of the CASA staff.

Murtaugh was inspired by the documentary film CICLO, the story of two Mexican brothers, Arturo and Gustavo Martinez, who cycled from Mexico City to Toronto back in 1956. They remained in Canada, married, and raised their families there.  Several years ago, filmmaker Andrea Martinez Crowther persuaded her father (Arturo) and uncle (Gustavo) to retrace their journey. After seeing the film, Murtaugh, who is himself an experienced long-distance cyclist, decided to take the same trip, but in reverse, hence, BI-CICLO.

Amistad Canada was founded in 2009 as a successor organization to Canadians for CASA, which itself was founded in the 1980s by John Murtaugh’s late mother-in-law, Aileen Harris, and was later run by his late wife, Elizabeth Harris.

The money Murtaugh is raising will contribute to the salaries of three CASA staff members: a Clinical Coordinator in its School of Midwifery, the Library Coordinator, and one of the psychologists on its Anti-Violence team. US$25,000 will pay those three salaries for an entire year. Supporters can follow his journey via the Amistad website and the Bi-CICLO Facebook page.

*Please indicate you are contributing to the fund for Bi-CICLO for Amistad.
For more information, please contact:
Mark O’Neill en español, markdoneill@gmail.com
Deborah Brandt, db3347@gmail.com
Please indicate you are contributing to the fund for Bi-CICLO for Amistad.
Tax-deductible contributions may also be made online:
by Mexicans at www.casa.org.mx, by Americans at www.empowercasa.org, and by Canadians at www.amistadcanada.org.

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